As activists nationwide gather to protest systemic racism and police brutality, let us not forget the Black transgender people disproportionately affected by hate-motivated violence.
Two Black trans women were killed this week alone: Riah Milton of Liberty Township, Ohio, and Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Two Black trans women have been reported dead this week. Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells of Philadelphia, PA and Riah Milton of Liberty Township, Ohio. #RestInPower #BlackLivesMatter #BlackTransLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/2djG4i3U6c
— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) June 12, 2020
Milton was shot and killed this Tuesday, June 9, according to local media outlets. She was also deadnamed and misgendered in initial reports of her death from local media, a phenomenon that is sadly common when transgender homicides are reported.
Investigators said a group of three people robbed Milton and tried to steal her car. The incident turned violent, and Milton was shot multiple times and pronounced dead on the scene. She was just 25 years old. Two of her attackers were arrested, including a minor, while one, Tyree Jeffrey Cross, remains on the run.
Hey @maddiemitch_ – The victim was a black trans woman. Her name was Riah Milton. Can you please update the story and any others related to reflect her name and gender? Please DM if you have questions. https://t.co/9399X2d0bo
— mariel b-f (@mbrownfa) June 11, 2020
A friend from her community has created a GoFundMe to “help with sending her home.”
Fells, a beloved member of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community, was found dead in a river earlier this week in a particularly gruesome killing. Dior Edmonds, Fells’ sister, started a GoFundMe to cover her funeral expenses.
“Dominique was a Black [trans woman] brutally murdered and discarded in a river in Philidelphia,” Edmonds wrote. “Our family is in mourning and in utter disbelief that something like this could happen to one of our own.”
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Trigger warning: Death, dismemberment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . It with a heavy heart we have to post another victim of violence and transphobia in our state. In Philadelphia, our sisTer Dominique was pulled from the river in a suitcase with trauma to the face and head, and legs severed mid thigh. It has been ruled a murder and is being investigated! Her name is Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells and there shall be no peace until justice is had! #SayHerName #blacktranslivesmattertoo
Her death is being investigated as a homicide, and investigators are asking anyone with information to contact the Philadelphia Police Department at (215) 686-TIPS or PhillyPolice.com.
In a media statement, the city of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs mourned Fells’ death during Pride Month, “a season typically filled with joy and celebration for many in our community”:
As thousands take to the streets to proclaim that Black Lives Matter, it is critical we remember that this includes Black trans lives Dominique Rem’mie Fells’ life mattered.
We are reminded with this, and countless other painful losses—especially within our transgender communities—that there is much left to do until we achieve full equality, respect, and support for us all. The murder of transgender people—especially those of color—is truly an epidemic, and a crisis that we cannot afford to allow to persist any further.
The back-to-back murders of both women sparked an outpouring of sorrow and support on social media:
Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells’ life needs to be lifted up. I’m so outraged and exhausted. Show up up for Black trans women. pic.twitter.com/P1zRFGT93O
— Tourmaline (@tourmaliiine) June 12, 2020
Two Black trans women were murdered this week while the world marched for #BlackLivesMatter. Both Riah Milton and Dominique Rem’mie Fells are being misgendered and deadnamed in the press, but the details are spreading quickly in the LGBTQ community. Our hearts are broken. https://t.co/HkE6rXaRtG
— Mary Emily O'Hara (@MaryEmilyOHara) June 12, 2020
Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells.
We say your names. You deserved so much better. https://t.co/673R3EyypD
— Black Visions (@BlackVisionsMN) June 12, 2020
Rest in power, Riah and Dominique.